You are on page 1of 14

The difference between shraddh performed on the death anniversary of a person and pitru paksha shraddh?

The tarpan or arghya , are offered to ancestors, every new-moon day. Similarly, ashraddh is performed every year on the death anniversary of the dead relative. However, the shraddh performed during pitru paksha has a special effect. Lord yama, had ordained that the offerings made during pitru paksha should reach the souls of the ancestors immediately and directly.

The pitru paksha shraddh is performed for all dead ancestors. The offerings are said to reach all the dead relatives of the person who performs the rites. Tarpana offered on the last day of the pitru paksha reach even those who died without having any children. Even those who did not offer food to the poor in their life time and those who did not perform any acts of charity and were thus denied any comfort in the pitru lok (house of the dead), receive benefits from the shraddh performed during pitru paksha. Also those whose date of death is not known and thus for whom the yearly shraddh cannot be performed, receive oblations offered during pitru paksh. Further, those who died a violent death also benefit from oblations offered during this fortnight.

On the day of the shraddh, the souls of dead relatives are invoked. According to matsya puran, these souls are identified with vasu, rudra and adityas who are the shraddh deities. the food offered to the Brahmins on the day of the shraddh and the oblations offered to the sacrificial fire by uttering the name and gotra (clan name) of the dead relative, is transformed by the power of the mantras (sacred hymns) into food appropriate for their present bodies. agni, vasus and the rudras act as celestial messengers and take this food to the respective souls. The ancestors then bless the performer of the shraddh with health, wealth and prosperity.

What customs should one observe during pitru paksha?

The person performing the rites of pitru paksha should take bath three times a day. He should observe a partial fast and take only one meal during the day. He should not shave; cut his hair or nails during the fortnight.

Homage To Ancestors-Pitru Paksha Shraddh/Shradh Mahina

by Mantra & shlokas on Tuesday, September 21, 2010 at 12:30pm

Shradh is a ritual performed for the people who have passed away so that their souls rest in peace and they attain Moksha or salvation. It is performed every year on the anniversary of the death of the person as per the Hindu calendar.

Mahalaya shradh is performed during a fortnight called as the Pitru paksha in the month of Ashwin of the Hindu Vikram Samvat. This Mahalay Shradh is very dear to the ancestors souls because the time is such that it reaches them immediately.

Shradh is performed for three generations of Pitris the father, the grand-father and the great grand-father, or to all Pitris. There are many rules and regulations that need to be followed. These rituals take place for sixteen days. This should be done under the guidance of a priest so that all the rituals are done in accordance to the Shastras and no souls get offended or left out. Instead all should be pleased and bless the person performing this ritual. All priests or pandits do not perform shradh rituals. So finding the right person to provide guidance is important. It is common practice for the male members of the family to partake in this activity but in case there are none then women too can participate.

Performance of Shradh and Tarpan (Libations of water) relieves the hunger and thirst of the departed soul during its journey to the Pitri Loka. Repaying the debt to ancestors is as important as repaying the debt to God, sages and the society. It is the duty of descendants to respect their ancestors, make donations in their name and to undertake activities that will please them. Performing Shradh is a part of obeying Dharma (Path of Righteousness).

Shradh rituals can performed at three different occassions in a year. The date on which the person has departed, during this Pitru Paksha time or at the time of any auspicious occassions like marriage or celebration of a childs birth. Performing such rituals before the actual marriage ceremony, indicates a sig n of respect to the ancestors and to seek their blessings.

The most ausipicous ghat where people go to perform shradh is in the city of Ujjain, on the banks of the river Shipra. Here Lord Ram had performed the last rites of his father and since then, this place is known as Ram Ghat. If people are not able to go there, then Gaya is another significant place where this ritual is performed.

During this period, people do not invest money or purchase house, cars or get married. All auspicious activities are kept on hold as this month is only dedicated to the departed souls. Some people believe that the departed are present at different levels in the sky after their death.

At the time of shradh month, those in middle levels who havent received liberation hover around to derive some benefits. Som e even say that during this time, the gods are asleep and they do not provide anything to these souls. In hunger and thirst these souls come down searching for their family members to provide them some nourishment.

Many families firmly believe in this and prepare food items, sweets and arrange for assorted foods that their departed family members enjoyed when they were alive. Though the departed ancestors cannot eat like normal beings as they do not have a body, they enjoy these foods with their sense of smell and vision.

The satisfaction that these souls get seeing that they are remembered and provided with their favorite delicacies, turn into blessings. Such blessings are indeed counted at the time of marriage, conception and birth of children. Their blessings provide the new generation freedom from physical and mental disabilities and abnormalities.

According to Hindu mythology, the souls of three preceding generations of one's ancestor reside in Pitru-loka, a realm between heaven and earth - governed by Yama, the god of death - who takes the soul of a dying man from earth to Pitru-loka. When a person of the next generation dies, the first generation shifts to heaven and unites with God and are thus not given Shraddha offerings. Thus, only the three generations in Pitru-loka are given Shraddha rites, in which Yama plays a significant role. According to the sacred Hindu epics (Itihasa), at the beginning of Pitru Paksha, the sun enters the zodiac sign Virgo (Kanya) and at this time, it is the believed that the spirits leave Pitru-loka and reside in their descendants' homes a month until the sun enters the next zodiac Scorpio (Vrichchhika) - the next full moon. Hindus are expected to propitiate the ancestors in the first half - the dark fortnight.

When the legendary donor Karna died in the epic Mahabharata war, his soul transcended to heaven where he was offered gold and jewels as food, but Karna needed real food to eat in heaven. He asked the lord of heaven, Indra the reason for serving gold as food. Indra said that Karna had donated gold all his life, and never donated food to his ancestors in Shraddha. Karna replied since he was unaware of his ancestors, he never donated anything in their memory. Karna was allowed to return to earth for a 16-day period, when he performed Shraddha and donated food and water in their memory. This period is now known as Pitru Paksha.

Importance Shraddha by a son in Pitru Paksha is considered a must for the ancestor soul to attain heaven. In this context, the scripture Garuda Purana says "there is no salvation for a man without a son". The scriptures preach that a householder propitiate ancestors (Pitris) along with the gods (devas), ghosts (bhutas) and guests. The scripture Markandeya Purana says if the ancestors are happy with the shraddhas, they will bestow upon the performer health, wealth, knowledge and longevity and ultimately heaven and salvation (moksha).

Shraddha performed on Sarvapitri amavasya can also compensate for a forgotten or neglected annual shraddha ceremony, to be held on death anniversary of the deceased. According to Sharma, the ceremony is central to the concept of lineages. Shraddha involves oblations to three preceding generations, by reciting their names as well as to the mythical lineage ancestor (gotra), thus a person in his life gets to know the names of six generations in his life: three precding generation, his own and two succeeding generations - his sons and grandsons.

Usha Menon presents a similar idea: pitru paksha emphasizes the fact that the ancestors and the current generation and their next unborn generation are connected with blood ties. The current generation repays their debt to the ancestors in pitru paksha. This debt is considered of utmost importance along with a person's debt to his gurus and his parents. Rules of shraddha When and where Shraddha is performed on the specific lunar day in Pitru Paksha, when the ancestor (usually parents or paternal grandparents) was deceased. There are exceptions to the lunar day rule, special days are allotted for people who died by a particular death or their status before death:

* Chautha Bharani and Bharani Panchami - the fourth and fifth lunar day respectively - is allocated for people deceased in the past year.* Avidhava navami ("Unwidowed ninth") - the ninth lunar day is for married women, who died before their husband. Widowers invite Brahmin women as guests for their wife's shraddha.* The twelfth lunar day

for children and ascetics, who had renounced the worldly pleasures* Ghata chaturdashi or Ghayala chaturdashi - the fourteenth for people killed by arms, in a war or suffered a violet death* Sarvapitri amavasya - ("all father's new moon day") is meant for all ancestors, irrespective the lunar day they died. It is the most important day of the Pitru Paksha and those who forgotten to perform shraddha, can do so on this day. The shraddha done on this day is considered as fruitful as one done in the holy city of Gaya.* Matamaha ("Mother's father") or Dauhitra ("Daughter's son"): It is the first day of the month of Ashwin and beginning of the bright fortnight. It is assigned for shraddha of the maternal grandfather by the grandson.

The ritual is also held on the death anniversary of the ancestor. The shraddha is performed only at noon, usually on bank of a river or lake or at one's own house. Families may also journey pilgrimage places like Varanasi and Gaya to perform Shraddha. Gaya considered sacred to perform shraddhas, holds a fair in Pitru Paksha. Who and for whom

Shraddha has to performed by the son (usually the eldest son) or male relative for paternal section family, limited to preceding three generations, however on Sarvapitri amavasya or matamaha, the daughter's son can offer Shraddha for his maternal side of the family if a male heir is absent in his mother's family. Some castes only perform the shraddha for one generation. The male who would perform the rite, should have undergone the sacred thread ceremony. Since the ceremony is considered inauspicious, in the royal family of Kutch, the king or heirs of the throne are prohibited to conduct Shraddha.


The food offering to the ancestors is usually cooked in silver or copper vessels. It is usaully on a banana leaf or cups made of dried leaves. The food must include rice Kheer a sweet made of rice and milk, lapsi - a sweet porridge made of wheat grains, rice, dal - lentils and the vegetable of spring bean (guar) and yellow gourd (pumpkin). Rites of shraddha

The male who performs the shraddha, should be purified by a bath and is excepted to wear a dhoti. He wears a ring of darbha grass, in which the ancestors are invoked to reside. The shraddha usually is performed bare chested, as the position of the sacred thread worn as the person has to be changed a number of times in the ceremony. The shraddha involves pinda-daan - offering of pindas (cooked rice and barley flour balls mixed with ghee and black sesame seeds) with the release of water from the hand - to the ancestors. It is followed by the worship of gods Vishnu in form of the darbha grass, a gold image or Shaligram stone and Yama. This is followed by offering the food, specially cooked for the ceremony, on the roof. The offering is considered as accepted if a crow arrives and eats the food. The crow is considered a messenger of Yama or the spirit of the ancestors. A cow and a dog is also fed. Brahmin priests are offered food and then after the ancestors (crow) and the Brahmins have eaten, the family members have lunch. Mahalaya Mahalaya marks the formal beginning of the Durga Puja festival

Mahalaya , is the last day of the previous fortnight Pitri Pokkho , Fortnight of the Forefathers, the day is marked by recitation of Devi Mahatmyam (Chandi Path), and signifies the beginning of Durga Puja festivities. Bengalis traditionally wake up at 4 in the morning on Mahalaya day to listen to Mahisasura Mardini in the enchanting voice of the late Birendra Krishna Bhadra and the late Pankaj Kumar Mullick on All India Radio as they recite hymns from the scriptures from the Devi Mahatmyam or Chandi. Other practices

Some families also conduct ritual recitals of scriptures like the Bhagavat Purana and the Bhagavad Gita. Some families also perform charity in name of the deceased, give gifts to Brahmin priests or pay Brahmins to recite prayers for the ancestor's well-being

Pitru Paksha
Pithru Paksha which is also called as Shraddh Paksha is dedicated to Pithru devatas or ancestors who are dead. It starts from September 24 and ends on October 7and it begins in the first day of during Ashwin Month, this is according to the North Indian calendar but as per the People staying in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh Pitru Paksha starts from the 2nd half of Bhadrapad Mass. According to the Hindu Mythology, Shraddh which is performed during this time reached to their ancestors soul to rest in pea ce. As per the Rudras act families of the dead ancestors during this Pitru Paksha perform some ritual and offer food to their dead ancestors. And ancestors bless those who perform this ritual. The last day of the Pitru Paksha is considered to be very important and is mostly performed in river banks or in temples.

Performing Shraddh is very beneficial for the dead ancestors as all the sinful acts that are performed by the dead person get clean. And those souls of which Shraddh is not performed said to be wandering aimlessly in earth.

People during Pitru Paksha keep fast and stay away from eating non-vegetarian foods. Some even dont shave or cut their hair till the last of the day of Shraddh.


Shraddh or Shradh offered during Pitru Paksh (dark fortnight or Krishna Paksha) in the month of Ashwin (September October) is of great importance in Hindu religion. Shraddh is the ceremonies and rituals performed for the departed souls of dead ancestors. It is believed that the souls will attain peace by the Shraddh rituals performed during the fortnight. the Shraddh Pitru Paksh begins on next day to Punaam and ends with Mahalaya Pitru Paksha . (Pitru Paksha fortnight).

According to Hindu mythology, the Shraddh performed on Ashwin Pitru Paksha reaches the ancestors immediately and their souls will rest in peace. Hindu Puranas are full of details about Shraddh, especially Agni Purana, Garuda Purana and Matysa Purana. It is Yama, the god of death in Hindu mythology, who explained the importance of Shraddh performed on Pitru Paksha.

According to Matysa Pura, Agni, Vasus and Rudras act as intermediaries during Pitru Paksha Shraddh and take the rituals and food offered to ancestors. The ancestors bless those performing the ritual. In some places, the last day of the Shraddh is of great importance. The ritual is usually conducted near temples or on river banks.

The Shraddh or rituals performed during this period benefits all the dead ancestors. It is believed by Hindus that all the sinful acts committed by the dead will be cleansed by the shraddh. Those departed souls who do not receive Shraddh are said to wander aimlessly on Earth.

Pitru Paksha Shraddh is also offered by people to ancestors whose death dates they have forgotten. To relatives who had no children and who met with violent death like accidents or murder. Those people who failed to perform the annual shraddh (performed on the death date) also offer Shraddh during Pitru Paksha.

The customs and rituals performed during Pitru Paksha Shraddh vary regionally. Some people fast on the day. Some people observe specific customs like abstaining from non-<span>vegetarian food</span> during the fortnight and some do not cut their hair or shave.

The rituals are usually performed under the guidance of a learned person or priest.

According to shastras Shradya pitran udishya vidhina kriyate yatkarm tat shradham wondering what it means, it means what ever acts or deeds that you perform with devotion for your near and dear ones who have died is called the shradha. The essence of offerings ma de in the shradha should be start with devotion for the act of shradha. Without the presence of devotion all other offerings and prayers made in the process is remains just an act of completing the task of performing the yajna.

According to the great priest Parashar Shradha is the process of performing the prayers with the help of materials like Black sesame (kala teel), long thick dry grass (kush) and mantras at a given time in a specific country with an utensil (patra).

For your ancestors you should be performing the act or yajnas of shradha twice once when they have died or on their death anniversary or in the months of pitripaksha which falls in the month of ashwin as per the hindi calendar which is the period just before Navratri and generally falls in September. The date on which your ancestors had died and if you happen to perform the shradha on the same day it is called the ekodisht shrdha. The name suggests the performing of yajnas for the salvation of the soul for the same person who died on that given day. The rituals suggests you to donate a pind (a pind is a round ball made of a mixture of wheat and rice flour with some sesame seeds mixed along with some milk and honey.) on the given day and also offer food to a hindu priest (Brahman).

The other kind of shradha is performed in the month of Ashwin during the Krishna paksha phase on the same date on which the ancestor had died. This form of shradha is called the pawarn shradha. According to rituals mentioned in the shradha you should be offering food to nine Brahmans but even if you offer food to even one of them with utmost devotion will be good as performing your rituals.

Below is the process to perform Shradh for your ancestors: 1. Dress yourself in a white plain cloth and remember your ancestors who have died.2. Sit down facing the east.3. Start the prayer by holding the trikush, black sesame and water in your hand and pronounce the following mantras:

Sankalp Om Vishnu Vishnu Vishnu namah partmatmane purshotamaye om tatsat adhaytasya vis hnorogya jagatsrishti karmani prabartmanasye brahmanohin dwitiye paradhre sri swetwarah kalpe vaivast manwantare ashtawishanti tame kaliyuge kali pratham charne jambudeepey bharatkhande bharat varshey aryavartrantgartayk deshey ( say -The name of the state and city ) jilantgartey (say The name of your town or village or the name of your colony) Namin chetrey (Say the closet hindu piligrimage place) Namin tirthsthal samipey bodhawatare vikram samwat2066, subhkrit naam samwatsarey surya dakshinayaney, sharad ritu aswin masey Krishnapakshey (you would have state the date on which you are performing the yajnas) thitho (you state the day on which it is being performed) washrey singh/kanya rashi sthith suryey makar rashi sthithey devgurow sheshesu grihashu yatha-yatha rashi sthan sthiteysu satsu aaewam grahgungan visheshan vishishtayaan subh pun thitho ( state your gotra here) gotrotpa nosah (state your full name now) ah ashmat pitrepitamah pratitamhanam sapatnikanam tataambatritaymityadi shastrabidhitwashisht sambandhi bandhwanam yey chasmatoh abhiwankchantih tesha cha chutpipasha nibriti purwakam chaytripti sampadnarth Brahman bhojnatmakam sankalpik shradham tatha p anchbali karmam cha karishyeh.

There after the water that you were holding in your hand should be left on the ground.

Before you treat the Brahman with food and you should ask the pandit to perform the panchbali constituing of (gobali, shwanbali, kakbali, dewadibali and pipilika bali).

Take five different kind of food item on five different utensil or leaf and thereafter pick each of these utensil/leaf along with the food in it and perform the yanjanas for kramasah, gobali, swanbali, devadibali and pipilika bali.

1.Gobalih Gobali is taken out in a utensil or leaf and while you are doing so you need to use the following mantra:

Showrmeyyaah sarwahita pavitra punyarashyah.Pratigriantu may grasham gaawshtreylokaymatrah.Edey gobhayao na mamah

2. Shwanbali It has to performed the same way by using the following mantras below:

Dwoh shrawanoh shyamshbalow baiwastawkulodawbhawoh.Tabhyamanam prayakchami shayaatametawhinsakow.Edey sharbhyam na mamah

3. KakabaliKakabali is taken out on the ground by using the following mantras below:

Aeyndrawarun baybyaham yamyah baey neytrastastatha.Bayesah pratigrihantoh bhumoh pindah.

4. DevbaliThis bali is taken out in a utensil or leaf and while you are doing so you need to use the following mantra:

Deva manushyaha pashwoh byamshi shidha shaychorgadaytashangha.Pretah pishachastwaa samasta yeh chananbhiichchanti maya pradtam.Idmanah devadibhayo na mamah

5. PipilikaThis bali is taken out in a utensil or leaf and while you are doing so you need to use the following mantra:

Pipilikah kitpataskandha bubhuchitah karmnibandhbadha.Tesha he triptayarthmindham mayananm tebhayo weshrishtham sikinoh bhawantu.Idmanah Pipilikahdebhayo na mamah.

Once you have performed the panchbali as per the rituals the food can be either offered to fire or should be given to either of these animals like cow, dog crow or insect (ants).

Now you have to treat the Brahman. Either donate food or treat the Brahman with food. The food should have the following ingredients:1. Grains 2. Ghee 3. Sugar and4. Salt

Once the Brahman has been treated with food you should donate tambul and other materials and after doing so consider this Brahman to be your ancestor god and move around him for four times (parikrama). Once you have done so and the Brahman feels very satisfied you can take leave of the Brahman. And now you can have food.

The result of shradha would depend on your devotion of performing the shradha. According to shastras if somebody is extremely poor and he cannot do anything then just feeding a cow in the name of your ancestors would be equivalent to performing the shradha. If you cannot even do that just raise your hands in the air and tell your ancestor Gods that you have no material possessions to perform shradha for their soul and all you have is the devotion for them and you can say you can accept my devotion as an offering and offer your blessings


Pitru Paksh Shraddh, Tarpanam or Shraddham are the various names used to describe the rituals performed for the dead relatives and ancestors in Hinduism. Shraddh holds an important place in rituals associated with Hindu religion and it is performed without fail by most Hindus. Apart from the immediate rituals after a death, there are also annual rituals like Pitru Paksh Shraddh in North India and East India, Aadi Amavasai in Tamil Nadu, Karikadaka Vavu Bali in Kerala and Amavasi rituals in other places.

Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita talks about the journey of the dead and about the importance of the rituals dedicated to them. Annual Shraddh is usually performed during the Dakshinayana period (July to December). Prashna Upanishad indicates that the rituals performed on the first Krishna Paksha Amavasi during Dakshinayana period directly reach the Dead. In South India, the first Amavasi after Dakshinayana is considered highly favorable for performing the Shraddham.

Shraddh should be performed with a pious mind. The person who performs the Shraddh should realize that for his birth, body, knowledge, wealth and sanskar he/she is indebted to the ancestors. All that is there was given by the ancestors. So the rituals performed is accepting this fact and is sort of thanksgiving. Both male and female relatives of the dead can perform the rituals.

The rituals including the pind dhan that are performed reach the dead ancestors through the rays of Surya (Sun.) It is said that a year of humans is a day for the dead and therefore the ancestors enjoy the fruits of the annual Shraddh throughout the year.

Another belief is that the souls of dead remain in peace in Pitru Loka as a result of the rituals performed by their children or relatives. It is also said that the dead bless them for this and it helps the children and relatives to lead a good life on earth.

Equally important is feeding the poor on the day. Whenever rituals dedicated to the dead are performed, people distribute food and clothes among the poor.

Usually the rituals are performed on a riverbank or on seashore. There are also temples in India where the rituals can be performed. In some places crows are invited to feed on the rice cake that is prepared for the ritual.

The method of performing the rituals slightly varies from region to region. But the essence of the ritual is the same

Method of Tharpanam
Part Tharpanam

The easy tharpanam method is made up of 2 parts. The first part is what is known as Pitru Tarpanam and the second part is known as Karunya Tharpanam.

What is Pitru Tharpanam?

There are many spiritual debts that each one of us needs to pay every day. One of these is our daily debt to our ancestral beings known as pitrus. To pay off this debt, what we need to do daily is the worship procedure known as pitru tharpanam. This worship procedure is quite easy. You can do it in about 10 minutes or so.

Pitru = one's ancestors. Tharpanam = to satisfy, to please. So pitru tharpanam = pleasing one's ancestors. In the pitru tharpanam procedure, we offer tharpanam to 12 of our most recently departed ancestors. These are our departed ancestors in our parental lines, i.e., departed parents, grandparents, great grandparents and so on. Departed uncles, grand uncles, aunts, grand aunts and others not in the parental lines are not coverd in the pitru tharpanam process. They are covered in the Karunya Tharpanam process described below.

You can offer tharpanam for more than 12 of your departed ancestors, but that is more advanced and we don't cover that here in this easy tharpanam method.

What is Karunya Tharpanam?

Karunya Tharpanam is the second part of the tharpanam process. It is tharpanam offered to departed relatives, friends, strangers, pets, animals, birds, insects, creatures, plants, trees and other departed beings.

Six things you need for doing Tharpanam

1. A mat to sit on, preferably made of sacred Darbha grass (also known as Kusa grass). A wooden plank or clean cloth made of natural fibers such as cotton or wool can also be used as a mat. 2. A clean plate made of wood, copper, brass or silver. Glass and stainless steel are not appropriate. 3. Clean water in a wood, copper, brass or silver cup that is convenient to hold in your left hand. You may also want to have water in a separate bowl. Glass and stainless steel are not appropriate. 4. Black sesame seeds (ellu in Tamil, til in Hindi). If you are male, use black sesame seeds. If you are female, use white sesame seeds. Why so? The answer is in Sathguru Venkataraman's Siddha writings. 5. Dharba grass (also known as kusa grass and as dharbai). 6. Pavitram made of darbha grass (see image on this page) to be worn on the ring finger of the right hand.

2 Lists You Need to Create

Apart from the above, you also need to create two lists: (i) a list of beings for whom you will be doing the pitru tharpanam ceremony and (ii) a list of beings for whom you will be doing kaarunya tharpanam. You will also need the mantras for pitru and karunya tarpanam. All these are described below.

Creating the List of 12 Most Recently Departed Ancestors

How do you list your 12 most recently departed ancestors? You list them 3 each from 4 ancestral lines as described below. 1. <span>Paternal male ancestors, i.e., the male ancestors on your father's side.</span> These are: F (father) FF (father's father) FFF (father's father's father) FFFF (father's father's father's father) FFFFF (father's father's father's father's father) and so on. Pick the 3 most recently <span>departed</span> from this ancestral line and note down the names and the relationships. For example, let us assume that the father(F) and father's father(FF) are alive. In this case, the three most recently departed ancestors in this line will be:

<span>EXAMPLE:</span><span> 3 Most Recently Departed Paternal male ancestors</span>


Which Relationship Name (if known)

<span>1.</span> FFF Murugan

<span>2.</span> FFFF Siva

<span>3.</span> FFFFF -not known-


<span>Paternal female ancestors, i.e., the female ancestors on your father's side.</span> These are: M (mother) FM (father's mother) FFM (father's father's mother) FFFM (father's father's father's mother)

FFFFM (father's father's father's father's mother) and so on. Pick the 3 most recently <span>departed</span> from this ancestral line and note down the names and the relationships. For example, let us assume that the father's mother(FM) and father's father's father's mother(FFFM) are alive. In this case, the three most recently departed ancestors in this line will be:

<span> </span>


<span>EXAMPLE: </span><span>3 Most Recently Departed Paternal female ancestors</span>

Which Relationship Name (if known)

<span>4.</span> M Saraswati

<span>5.</span> FFM Lakshmi

<span>6.</span> FFFFM -not known-


<span>Maternal male ancestors, i.e., the male ancestors on your mother's side.</span> These are: MF (mother's father) MFF (mother's father's father) MFFF (mother's father's father's father) MFFFF (mother's father's father's father's father) MFFFFF (mother's father's father's father's father's father) and so on. Pick the 3 most recently <span>departed</span> from this ancestral line and note down the names and the relationships. For example, let us assume that the mother's father's father(MFF) is alive. In this case, the three most recently departed ancestors in this line will be:

<span>EXAMPLE: </span><span>3 Most Recently Departed Maternal male ancestors</span>


Which Relationship Name (if known)

<span>7.</span> MF Kumar

<span>8.</span> MFFF Gopala

<span>9.</span> MFFFF Narayana


<span>Maternal female ancestors, i.e., the female ancestors on your mother's side.</span> These are: MM (mother's mother) MFM (mother's father's mother) MFFM (mother's father's father's mother) MFFFM (mother's father's father's father's mother) MFFFFM (mother's father's father's father's father's mother) and so on. Pick the 3 most recently <span>departed</span> from this ancestral line and note down the names and the relationships. For example, let us assume that no one is alive in this ancestral line. In this case, the three most recently departed ancestors in this line will be:

EXAMPLE: 3 Most Recently Departed Paternal female ancestors


Which Relationship Name (if known)

10. MM Valli

11 MFM Jyoti

12. MFFM Devi

To share with friends, please copy-paste only the link to this article (and not the text of the article). The link is as follows: http://www.Agasthiar.Org/a/tharpanam.htm</span>

Creating the List of Beings for Kaarunya Tharpanam

Having listed the 12 most recently departed ancestors, we should now list the departed souls for whom we should do karunya tharpanam, that is, departed friends, departed relatives (i.e., non-parental relatives), departed mentors and people you liked or respected, strangers, pets, animals, birds, insects, creatures, plants, trees, etc.

Sathguru Venkataraman was emphatic that we should do karunya tharpanam for the grains, vegetables, fruits, herbs and other plant products that we have consumed. For those who consume (or have consumed) meat products, karunya tharpanam is that much more important and they must ceratinly do karunya tharpanam for the animals, birds and other creatures that they have consumed. EXAMPLE List of Beings for Kaarunya Tarpanam

(1. Beings you have known or whose relationship to you is known) Relationship Name (if known) Uncle Ramesh Best Friend in College Suresh Algebra Teacher John Smith Pet Dog Lassie

2. Beings you did not know or who were not connected to you as a relative, friend, mentor, etc.) Kids who died in the Chennai Tsunami People who died in 9/11 WTC People who died in war All plants, trees, vegetables, grains, etc. that died for the sake of feeding me

(For those who consume meat) All animals, birds and other creatures that died for the sake of feeding me

Mantra to be used for Pitru Tharpanam

as given by Sathguru Venkataraman

What we give below is the simplest mantra for use in the pitru tharpanam process. Actually, there are specific mantras for each of the 12 ancestors. Doing Pitru tharpanam with these 12 specific mantras is highly effective. For these mantras, refer to Sathguru Venkataraman's Siddha writings. Now, here is the easy pitru tharpana mantra.

meyyil vilangum jothi mei unarndha mel neethaar manam kulira vaartha el neer etru manam kulirveer, manam kulirveer, manam kulirveer

This is the Pitru Tharpana Mantra given by Sathguru Venkataraman from the Neethaar Kadan Padalam(The Debt to Departed Ancestors Section) of the Agasthiar Moola Naadi, the foundational work of the Agasthiar Lineage, as taught to him by his Siddha teacher, Sri La Sri Idiyaappa Eesa Siddha.

AUDIO HELP: Listen to a slow recitation of the Pitru Tharpana mantra. Use this audio help to learn this mantra. <span>The Pithru tharpana mantra in Tamil and Hindi script below. </span>

Mantra to be used for Karunya Tharpanam as given by Sathguru Venkataraman

<span>neethaar nedungolam nindra vali neeldhaayam thaar engolam engulathaar empooram kaathaar kaaranathaar karamevi el pulam koothaar kuda-perumaal kondaange gidav moothaar mudham vdham mutraai malarndhidav poothaar punal embum poomaraiyaai poonattum kaarunya aaranya karpoora tharpanam kaarunya aaranya karpoora tharpanam kaarunya aaranya karpoora tharpanam

This is the Kaarunya Tharpana Mantra given by Sathguru Venkataraman from the Neethaar Kadan Padalam (The Debt to Departed Ancestors Section) of the Agasthiar Moola Naadi, the foundational work of the Agasthiar Lineage, as taught to him by his Siddha teacher, Sri La Sri Idiyaappa Eesa Siddha.

AUDIO HELP: Listen to a slow recitation of the Karunya Tharpana mantra. Use this audio help to learn this mantra. The Kaarunya tharpana mantra in Tamil and Hindi script below.

The Pitru Tarpanam Grid of Dharbha Grass

12 tips for the 12 most recently departed ancestors

The Tharpanam Procedure Itself

Here are the steps for doing tharpanam:

1. Light at least two jyoti oil lamps or ghee lamps. 2. Spread the mat and sit facing east. 3. Pray to Lord Ganesh first and then to Lord Surya Narayana who is the Lord of the pitru ancestral beings. Request them to bless the tarpanam pooja that you are about to perform. 4. Place the plate in front of you and arrange the tharpanam grid (made of dharbha grass) as shown above . First place the 3 vertical strips of darbha grass and then the 3 horizontal strips. Each line shown above should have a minimum of 3 darbha grass strips. Since there are 6 lines in total, you need a minimum of 6 x 3 = 18 darbha grass strips.

Now you can see that there are 12 tips in total, 3 at the top, 3 at the bottom, 3 on the right and 3 on the left. The top 3 tips represent the 3 most recently departed male ancestors on the father's side. The bottom 3 tips represent the 3 most recently departed female ancestors on the father's side. The 3 tips on the right represent the 3 most recently departed male ancestors on the mother's side. The 3 tips on the left represent the 3 most recently departed female ancestors on the mother's side. 5. With all your heart, request exalted pitru ancestral beings to be present in this tharpanam grid and accept the humble offerings that you are about to give. Now you are ready to do the actual tharpanam ceremony. 6. This is the step where we actually offer tharpanam for the first departed ancestor on the tip marked 1 in the above diagram. In our example, the first departed ancestor is FFF (father's father's father, i.e., great grandfather) named Murugan. Place a pinch of sesame seeds on your right palm and chant the pitru tarpana mantra given above (meyyil vilangum jothi) and the name of the departed ancestor as follows: "meyyil vilangum jothi... kulirveer Great Grandfather Murugan svadhaa namas tharpayami, Murugan swadha namas tharpayami, Murugan svada namas tharpayami." As you are chanting the mantra, pour water on the sesame seeds (that are in the palm of your hand) slowly while tilting your hand to the right so that the water and sesame seeds fall on the appropriate tip. The water should flow down through the gap between your right thumb and right index finger as shown in the figure above. Why? Refer to Sathguru Venkataraman's Siddha writings for the reason.

6b. Repeat this 2 more times for the same ancestor on the same tip. In other words, we do this 3 times per ancestor on the appropriate tip.

To share with friends, please copy-paste only the link to this article (and not the text of the article). The link is as follows http://www.Agasthiar.Org/a/tharpanam.htm

7. Now move on to the 2-nd tip and do the tharpanam 3 times on that tip. In this way, repeat this process for all 12 ancestors, i.e., on all 12 tips. 3 times per tip and a total of 12 tips would mean that you make a minimum of 36 tharpanam offerings for your pitru ancestors each time you do tharpanam.

8. Next, do karunya tharpanam for relatives, friends, people you respect, strangers, pets, plants, trees, animals, birds, creatures and insects. Before you do this, pray to Lord Varadaraja of Seshambadi and request His blessings for the beings you are doing karunya tarpanam for. Then chant the "neethaar nedungolam" karunya tharpana mantra given above and the name of the person as follows: "neethaar nedungolam... tharpanam Friend Suresh svadhaa namas tarpayami, Suresh svadha namas tarpayami, Suresh svada namas tarpayami". As you are chanting the mantra, pour water on the sesame seeds (that are in the palm of your hand) slowly while tilting your hand to the right so that the water and sesame seeds fall in the middle of the grid. Do this 3 times for each person or plant or animal you are doing karunya tharpanam for. Here too, the water should flow down through the gap between your right thumb and right index finger as shown in the figure above.

9. When your tharpanam is complete, remove the pavitram from your ring finger, unroll it and place it on top of the darbha grass used in the tharpanam.

10. Pray to Lord Narayana and the exalted pitrus and prostrate yourself (full body namaskar) towards the southern direction 12 times.

11. Dispose off the sesame seeds, water and darbha grass used in the ceremony respectfully by depositing them into a flowing river or ocean or a large pond or well. An alternate method is to separate the sesame seeds from the water, pour the water alone at the base of sacred trees and feed the sesame seeds to birds. The important thing here is that the sesame seeds should not sprout.Why? Refer to Sathguru Venkataraman's Siddha writings for the answer.


Tharpanam is done only for departed beings, that is, those who have passed on. Tharpanam is not done for those who are alive.
If you don't know the name of an ancestor, that is fine. Just state the relationship alone and offer tharpanam for that ancestor.

If you know the gotra lineage of a person, say it just before you mention the relationship, e.g., Sri Vatsa Gotra great grandfather Murugan or Vadhoola Gotra friend Suresh in the examples above. If you do not know the gotram of the person or you do not know what gotram is, just ignore this step.

For those who wear the sacred thread, change it to your right shoulder at the beginning of the tharpanam ceremony and back to the left shoulder at the end of the ceremony. There are special mantras for this step. If you don't wear the sacred thread, ignore this step. Can one do tharpanam for more than 12 departed ancestors? The answer is yes. But that is a more advanced procedure and we are not going to cover that here.

There are special mantras for each specific ancestor. These special mantras will have their special effect for sure. Consult the Sathguru's books for these special mantras.

Sathguru Venkataraman gave us hundreds of unique tharpanam procedures. Refer to his Siddha writings for this information.

When to do Tharpanam?

Sathguru Venkataraman said that according to Maha Guru Agasthiar, tharpanam should be done at sunrise. There is a tradition that says that tharpanam should be done at noon. If this is your tradition, please do follow that.

Where to do Tharpanam?

You can do tharpanam right in the comfort of your home. But it is that much more effective to do it in temples and on the banks of sacred rivers. If you can do tharpanam in the Pitru Moksha temples and sacred spots, that would be the best. More details in Sathguru Venkataraman's Siddha writings.

Can the son do tharpanam if the father is alive?

The most serious misconception regarding tharpanam is the idea that if the father is alive, the son should not do tharpanam. Sathguru Venkataraman taught that this idea is WRONG. Think of this key point: Are not the departed ancestors of the father the departed ancestors of the son too? Of course, they are. So why should the son not do pitru tharpanam? The son has a pitru debt just as the father does. So it is important to shed this misconception rightaway. The father can do pitru tharpanam and so can the son and the son's son. In fact, if all three do it together, the pitrus will be very pleased!

Can women do tharpanam?

Sathguru Venkataraman also gave us the revolutionary idea (in the 1980s) that women can do pitru tharpanam just as well as men. Think of this key point: If there are no sons in a family, does that mean the ancestors should be starved of tharpanam? The answer is NO. The daughters can certainly do tharpanam.

However, since women generally have a lot more family responsibilities than men, the males in a family should take the lead and do tharpanam and not let that responsibility fall on womenfolk too. But if the husband does not do tharpanam, the wife can make up for it by doing tharpanam. Women who have lost their husbands or who are separated from their husbands can do tharpanam. Women can do karunya tharpanam for those departed souls who cared for them.